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Crew Works Feverishly To Transition Staples Center Between Events

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — You probably know that Staples Center is home to two basketball teams and one hockey team, but there is also a very busy team working behind the scenes.

They may not get the standing ovations, the love from fans or names on their jerseys, but they still give it their all to change the arena from Laker purple and gold to Clippers red and blue with amazing speed.

On double-header days, it is not just the players working up a sweat.

“It’s a workout, you know, when you’re doing this type of work, you don’t need to go to the gym,” a crew member said.

They are the unknown stars of the downtown arena. Without them the Clippers would be playing on a floor that reads “Lakers” or vice versa.

“I think that would be like awkward,” one young fan said.

“Without them doing what they do, we don’t do the next event,” said Lee Zeidman, Vice President and General Manager of Staples Center/LA Live Nokia.

When the clock runs out, their clock starts and not a second passes before the mats and wrenches come out.

As Kobe Bryant gives a post-game interview, just feet away the crews are already working to take down the hoop.

“It’s like a puzzle. You just go in there putting the pieces together it all goes in a sequence,” Zeidman said.

It takes a small army, more than a hundred people, including cleaning crews to do the job. There is heavy machinery, heavy lifting and more than a little heavy breathing even on days when the crews take up the floor to reveal the ice below for Kings games.

“If you get cold when the building chills down for hockey, you’re not working,” a crew member said.

But on the day we visited it was a basketball double header. The Lakers walked off just before 3 p.m. and in less than an hour, every trace of the Lakers was gone.

The team has never missed a deadline, even when games have run into overtime.

“People ask me that question, ‘How quickly can you do it?’ I say, ‘What difference does it make, they’re not playing the next game until we’re done,” Zeidman said.

By 4:10, the Lakers court was stacked and tucked away in the bowels of Staples.

But have they ever missed a detail in the transition?

“No and if we did it would be on your channel and every channel in the country,” Zeidman said.

It’s not just the floor, the store now reads “Clippers,” there are different lights and different sponsors.

Then there is all that garbage! Let’s face it fans are slobs.

But they would say which team has the messiest fans. But trash talking is not the only trash Staples wants to keep off the court!

The crews have done this quick transition an astounding 19 times.

“They blow me away every night with the job they do,” a crew member said.

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